100 marathon racer runs into Hall of Fame

(March 27 – Fort McMurray, AB) The Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame Society (WBSHOF) is pleased to announce long-distance runner Bill Nielsen as the second inductee into the Class of 2014.

Born in Montreal, Nielsen relocated to Fort McMurray in 1977 to take a job in the oil sands. As a stress reliever, Nielson took up running, beginning with short distance fun runs. In 1980, at the age of 40, Nielsen helped found the Fort McMurray Running Club and also ran his first marathon. Over the next 16 years, Nielson completed 50 marathons, having crossed the finish line in some of the sport’s most prestigious races including Boston, New York and Chicago.

In 2000, after conquering 65 marathons, Nielsen was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Instead of hanging up his running shoes, Nielsen increased his pace, averaging five to 10 marathons a year. On May 18, 2008, Nielson ran the Woody’s RV World Marathon in Red Deer, completing his 100th marathon. Of those races, Nielson won his age category 37 times, including 18 in a row.

Nielsen’s other numerous athletic accomplishments include a No. 1 Canadian ranking in the 60-year old age class by Masters Rankings in 2001, a fourth place finish in the 60-year old age class at the 2001 Boston Marathon, three gold medals at the 1998 Canada Masters Games and five combined gold and one silver Alberta Senior Games medals in 1997 and 1998.

Nielsen has also received recognition for his contributions to the sport and service to his community. He was named the Alberta Parkinson’s Association “Volunteer of the Year” in 2010, “Runner of the Year” by the Runners Den in 2008, 1998 Alberta Government Parks & Recreation “Volunteer of the Year” and Fort McMurray’s “Volunteer of the Year” in 1997.

Unfortunately, due to his health reasons, Nielsen will be unable to attend the Induction Dinner in person; instead, a family member will speak on his behalf. 

This year's Induction Dinner will honour Nielson, Ches Dicks and one other individual for their outstanding contributions to sport in the Wood Buffalo region. The 2014 Induction Dinner takes place June 12 at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre. Tickets are on sale for $100 each or $800 for a table of eight. They can be purchased at the Keyano Box Office or by calling 780-381-1213. Sponsorship opportunities are also still available. 

For additional information or to arrange an interview contact:

Leithan Slade

Vice President, Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame


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